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Assault and Battery

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Boston Assault & Battery Attorney

What Constitutes Assault and Battery in MA?

Assault and battery is considered a serious crime, both by the state of Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States. To prove assault and battery beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant must have committed an unwanted touching, the defendant intended to engage in the touching, the touching was harmful or offensive, and it was committed without justification or excuse. 

The penalty in Massachusetts for a conviction of assault and battery is a jail term of up to 2 ½ years in a House of Correction and/or imposition of monetary.

Sentences are increased and include state prison for use of dangerous weapon in connection with an assault and battery (ABDW), and can also be enhanced by either the circumstances of the offense or specific characteristic of the victim such as age (assault and battery person over 65) or infirmity (assault and battery on mentally handicapped).


Facing accusations? Schedule your free consultation with our Boston assault lawyer online or call (617) 500-0252 today!


What is Aggravated Battery?

Aggravated battery (a felony) is defined by:

  •  The nature, seriousness and/or permanent nature of injury caused 
  • Indecent assault and battery 
  • A felony that also allows for imposition of a state prison sentence, and is subject to sex offender registration
  • A non-consensual sexual battery (touching) and divided by age (U 14; over 14)

Domestic assault and battery requires proof of a live-in/domestic relationship and is usually accompanied by imposition of harsh abuse prevention/restraining orders, the violation of which can also result in jail time.

What is Aggravated Assault?

In Massachusetts, assault is a criminal offense that encompasses various degrees of severity. When an assault involves certain aggravating factors, it may be charged as aggravated assault, which carries more severe penalties than simple assault. The aggravating factors that elevate a standard assault to aggravated assault can vary, but they often include:

  • Use of Deadly Weapons: If an individual uses a deadly weapon or any object that could cause severe harm or death during the commission of an assault, it may be classified as aggravated assault. Deadly weapons can range from firearms and knives to blunt objects like baseball bats.
  • Serious Bodily Injury: When the victim of an assault sustains significant physical injuries that require medical attention or result in long-term impairment, it may be considered aggravated assault. The severity of the injuries is a crucial factor in this determination.
  • Victim Characteristics: Certain victim characteristics may lead to an assault being charged as aggravated. For example, if the victim is a law enforcement officer, healthcare worker, or public servant carrying out their duties, the assault may be considered more serious due to the victim's role.
  • Intent: If the perpetrator's intent was particularly malicious or showed a wanton disregard for human life, the assault may be upgraded to aggravated assault. This could include premeditated assaults or situations where the offender showed clear intent to cause severe harm.

What are the Penalties for Assault and Battery?

In the state of Massachusetts, the penalties for assault and battery are up to 2 years in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, the following circumstances can lead to more severe penalties:

  • Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member
  • Assault and Battery on a Public Employee
  • Assault and Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury
  • Assault and Battery on a Pregnant Woman
  • Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14
  • Assault and Battery on an Elderly or Disabled Person

Reckless Conduct

Assault and battery may also be alleged through reckless conduct in which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt two elements: the defendant’s actions caused physical or bodily injury to the victim and the actions amount to wanton and reckless conduct. 

Assault is essentially an uncompleted assault and battery and/or threat of a battery. It can also be charged as a felony if a dangerous or deadly weapon is involved (A/DW) and/or its penalty can be enhanced based on the circumstances of the crime or nature of the victim.

Assault and battery on a Public Employee (most frequently charged for batteries on police or fire personal) required proof beyond a reasonable doubt it was committed while the same was performing his or her official duties and carries a mandatory minimum 90 days jail sentence, upon conviction for the same in Massachusetts.

If you are accused of any of these crimes, it is essential you know your rights. It is also best to hire a lawyer who has years of experience in defending clients who are facing charges alleging any/all nature of charges alleging assaultive behavior and any variation, whether felony or misdemeanor, of assault and battery.

Intentional Assault and Battery

In order to prove a defendant guilty of assault and battery, The Commonwealth must convince a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt of the following elements:

  • First, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant engaged in a touching, however slight. This means that in this particular case, a jury must be satisfied that the Commonwealth proved applicable facts.
  • The second element the Commonwealth must prove is that the defendant intended to commit the touching. A jury may or may not infer the defendant’s intent by considering all of the facts and circumstances, as well as evidence of defendant’s conduct, offered during the trial.
  • The third element the Commonwealth must prove is that the touching was harmful or offensive. A harmful touching is a touching which is physically or potentially physically harmful. An offensive touching is an affront to a person’s integrity.
  • Fourth, the Commonwealth must prove that the battery was committed without justification or excuse. An example of justification is a physical examination by a doctor. An example of excuse is a situation where a person sees another in danger, reaches out, and while removing the other person from an oncoming vehicle, touches that person’s breast. In this case, the Commonwealth must prove the absence of justification or excuse beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • That a defendant committed a touching
    • That a defendant intended to engage in the touching
    • That the touching was harmful or offensive
    • Committed without justification or excuse.

Reckless Assault and Battery

There is a second way in which a person may be guilty of an assault and battery. Instead of intentional conduct, it involves reckless conduct that results in bodily injury. In order to prove a defendant guilty of having committed an assault and battery by reckless conduct, the Commonwealth must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Commonwealth v. Ma, indecent assault and battery case
  • Commonwealth v. Hallum, indecent assault and battery case
  • Commonwealth v. Turner, indecent assault and battery under 14 case
  • Com v. B., aggravated domestic battery
  • Com v. P.S, domestic battery
  • Com v. J. L., assault and battery on a public employee, A/DW
  • Com v D.S., AB/DW
  • Com v. A.S. , domestic battery
  • Com v. D.S., domestic battery
  • Com v. M., domestic assault
  • Com v. J.A., assault and battery
  • Com v. T.M., assault and battery

Actions that Caused Physical or Bodily Injury to the Victim

The first element the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant engaged in actions that caused the victim physical or bodily injury. The Commonwealth must prove that the injury interfered with the alleged victim’s health or comfort. 

The injury need not be permanent, but must be more than transient and trifling. For example, an act that only shakes up a person or causes only momentary discomfort would be transient and trifling.

Actions Amounted to Wanton and Reckless Conduct.

The second element the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that a defendant’s actions were wanton and reckless. It is not enough for the Commonwealth to prove that a defendant acted negligently — that is, acted in a way that a reasonably careful person would not. 

It must be shown that a defendant’s actions went beyond mere negligence and amounted to recklessness. A defendant acted recklessly if they knew, or should have known, that the conduct involved would likely cause substantial harm to someone, but they ran that the risk rather than alter such conduct.

Is Assault a Felony?

Assault can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the offense and the laws of the jurisdiction where it occurs. In general, assault refers to the intentional infliction of physical harm or the threat of harm against another person. The specific classification of assault as a felony or misdemeanor varies by state and country.

In many jurisdictions, assault can be charged as a misdemeanor if it involves minor physical harm or the threat of harm without actual physical contact. For example, simple assault, which typically involves a threat of violence or minor physical contact that does not result in significant injury, is often classified as a misdemeanor.

However, if the assault involves more serious injuries, the use of a deadly weapon, or other aggravating factors, it may be charged as a felony. Aggravated assault, for example, typically involves the use of a weapon or the intent to cause serious bodily harm and is often considered a felony offense.

The specific elements and penalties for assault offenses vary widely by jurisdiction, so it's important to consult the laws of your state or country and seek legal advice if you are facing assault charges.

Defending Against Assault Charges

Being charged with assault can have serious consequences, including fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. It is crucial to have a skilled legal team on your side to defend against these charges and protect your rights.

At Brad Bailey Law, our experienced attorneys have over 37 years of experience in handling assault cases. We understand the complexities of assault laws in Massachusetts and will work tirelessly to build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.

Some ways we can help defend against assault charges include:

  • Investigating the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault
  • Gathering evidence to support your innocence
  • Negotiating with prosecutors for reduced charges or penalties
  • Representing you in court and advocating for your rights

Don't face assault charges alone. Put our expertise to work for you and give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome in your case. Contact Brad Bailey Law today to schedule a consultation.

Put 37+ Years' Experience on Your Case

Brad Bailey, an Boston assault and battery lawyer, has practiced on both sides of criminal law. He has been a felony prosecutor in Manhattan (where he prosecuted all types of felony assaults), a senior trial prosecutor in Middlesex County, where he prosecuted murders, sex crimes and serious drug cases, a County Sheriff, where he not only reviewed, refereed, and referred out for prosecution, detainee and inmate assaults, but also created alternative dispute/mediation programs and a federal prosecutor in Boston.

As a violent crimes lawyer who has prosecuted and now defended virtually every conceivable assault/assault and battery/domestic violence charge imaginable. He understands the unique defense strategies needed for successfully handling these cases and infuses:

  •  Creativity
  • Out-of-the box thinking
  • Zealous advocacy 

Not just in the challenging and unique cases he routinely handles but for every client and in every case involving allegations of assaultive conduct.

The following notable cases are just a few of the literally hundreds of related cases he has recently defended (and does not include the many clerk magistrate hearings in where he appeared and successfully avoided assault-related charges issuing against his clients): To ensure your best defense, contact Brad Bailey today for a consultation.


Learn your defense options today when you contact Brad Bailey Law online or at (617) 500-0252.


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Featured Case Results
Only Hire an Attorney Who Gets Results
  • Murder 1, Jury Trial Not Guilty
  • Federal Jury Trial - Obstructing Official Proceeding; Destruction of Records Not Guilty
  • Arson Occupied Dwelling/Bomb Federal Jury Trial Not Guilty
  • Aggravated (gang) Rape, Jury trial Not Guilty
  • Child Rape, Jury Trial Not Guilty
  • Perjury, Obstructing Justice, Federal Jury Trial Not Guilty
  • Forcible Rape, Jury Trial Not Guilty
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  • Rape Appeal, Supreme Judicial Court Verdict Reversed, Indictment Dismissed
  • Aggravated Felonious Sex Assault, New Trial Motion Granted, Indictment Dismissed
  • Murder 1, Jury Trial Hung Jury
  • Murder 1 , New Trial Motion Granted
  • Aggravated child rape (age-gap), Jury Trial Hung Jury/Indictments Dismissed
  • Aggravated child rape (age-gap) Indictments Dismissed
  • Murder 1 Charges Dismissed
  • Fraud/False Pretenses, Conflict of Interest, Conspiracy, Jury Trial Hung Jury/Indictments Dismissed
  • Accessory After the Fact (to Felony), False Statements ( Public Official) Indictments Dismissed
  • Murder 1 [Insanity Defense] Charges Reduced
  • Aggravated Rape of Child (age-gap) And Child Rape, Jury Trial Hung Jury/Mistrial Declared
  • Conspiracy to: Commit International Money Laundering; Defraud USA; and Commit Health Care Fraud NOT GUILTY VERDICTS
  • Racketeering (RICO); Wire Fraud REVERSED ON APPEAL
  • Possession of Child Pornography [Felony] MOTION TO SUPPRESS GRANTED Charges and Case dismissed
  • Murder 1 [Adjutant Defense] Manslaughter Result
  • Aggravated Rape of Child (age-gap); Forcible Rape of Child; Indecent Assault and Battery Hung Jury, All (10) Counts; Mistrial Declared
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